Having already completed an array of incredible tours and festivals in their time as a band, as well as signing to Hopeless Records, Newcastle melodic hardcore risers GroundCulture are now gearing up for the release of their long awaited debut album How Well Do You Really Know Yourself? To know more about the release, their history and their ethos we had a chat with vocalist and frontman Roy Watson.
So, what's in a name? We'd love to know where the name 'GroundCulture' originates, and what it means to you as its members.
“GroundCulture is something that for all of us has kinda grown into its own strength and meaning, i guess. The way i view it is that ‘GroundCulture’ represents all the people in our societies around the planet that are at their lowest ever vibrational state, people who can’t quite get grounded because live in a certain mental ‘Culture’ of not realising their true power in all of this. We all kinda have this blocked energy and it is constantly being empowered by this need to hide who we truly are for fear that it’s not good enough for the world.
It is good enough for the world! We can literally all bring something to the table that not another single ‘mind’ on the planet could bring forward. Just keep moving forward! As far as where the name originated from, I used ‘GroundCulture’ as my IG handle cause I’m a huge fan of Kingdom of Giants. It just grew from there and started to own its own meaning for us.”
You recently completed your first UK Headline Tour, prior to which you'd toured with heavyweights Issues and Crossfaith, tell us about that journey, how did those tours come together and what were the best experiences you can remember from those?
“Yeah man, these were some fantastic times! If you put 7 best mates (The Egg and Paul included) on the road in any of those situations and its going to be a mad time. I think one of the best elements of all of these tours is that we met people who inspired us already and we got to see them absolutely smash it every night and have something to aim for. Crossfaith and Issues literally bring the heat whenever they play, it was sick to be a part of that and we felt like we had done something worthy, you know? The likes of Black Coast and Lotus Eater are people that we will forever be friends with because of those tours and the banter we had with them. Big up!”
You’ve also played some bloody fantastic festival slots, including This Is Tomorrow, 2000 Trees and Download Festival, Tell us about those experiences?
“We have! Festivals are always a crazy vibe cause it feels like more of a holiday and they tend to be pretty far away from home in mad old places. Our first festival was in Newcastle though, so not a holiday, but mind blowing at the same time! We had our own Gazebo with way too much beer and a ping pong table etc. Absolutely were treated like lords haha. To then go on and play for a couple of thousand people, on a stage bigger than our houses, with all of our family and friends there was wholesome. Download speaks for itself as a festival now I think as well, I literally got off stage and bubbled like a child cause I couldn't process what we had just achieved! One of the best times of our lives that one, for sure! After Download we had 2000 Trees which was a complete breath of fresh air! The sun was slamming down and it was just all around lush being in the sun with people that we hadn't seen for a while!”
Your new album How Well Do You Really Know Yourself? is dropping very soon, what kind of things should people be expecting from these tracks, and what kind of feelings do you hope people come out of the other side of this record with?
“We as a band are super proud of this record, we really think people are really going to get it! In a sense of what to expect, I'd say a little bit of everything. Its going to be heavy, its going to drop off into intense levels of atmosphere, its even gonna hit you with some banging powerful choruses and also some tremendous feels. As far as what we want people to come out on the other side with, I guess its gonna be one of those records where, if you're at certain cross roads in your life, you’ll hear certain lyrics and hopefully they wake a little piece of you up in the process. We just hope that people find something within that becomes personal to them and they can hold onto and find some kinda strength in.”
You’ve got Normandie’s Philip Strand featuring on the album, tell us about that relationship, you even had him flown in from Sweden to work on the album with you, we believe?
“We have yeah! We’re super excited about this also because Phil is a genius in his own right and he really fits well with the particular track (Dream Like A Child) that he features on. I’ve known Phil personally now for a few years, GroundCulture was literally just EP demos when we met. The boys stayed at my home in Newcastle on their first ever UK tour when they still had the original line up. I guess its kinda grown from there and we often help each other out with little elements of our musical process. Having Phil on board with How Well Do You Really Know Yourself? was a pleasure and we’re so stoked for you to get involved.”
If you could snag yourself any artist to feature on a future GroundCulture song, who would you pick?
“Ooo this is a tough one... In fact it's not cause these guys blew my mind into pieces at Download festival and I've never heard anything like it: Definitely Ryo from Crystal Lake! The guy is an animal.”
What's everyones favourite songs off the album right now then? It’s a blinder of a record, you should all be very proud of it!
“Well speaking for myself I'm going to say 1974 as its the most personal on of the record for me (Being about my mother and her struggles in life) and took me a couple of years to get it right. That, Free Fall and Trauma Can Teach are huge contenders, but we really enjoy all of the tracks, each one brings its own little piece of GC sass.”
You’ve recently put out a video for ‘Trauma Can Teach’, a track you've packed some heavy set emotions into, talk us through that song and what it means to you?
“Trauma Can Teach is one of those songs that really cuts deep for us. It having been conceived due to a very intense scenario Mattie and I lived through was kinda what, over time, had us realise that this song needs to not be about the band as such, but be more focused on real lives that are effected every single day by a multitude of things. Trauma Can Teach to us, means to never give up. To never let the way the grain goes dictate your worth or your ability to get up and fight for the good surrounding us.”
Tell us about the other two singles, ‘Life Wont Wait’ and ‘REALEYES’, what was it about these two tracks got them picked as the lead singles for the album?
“All the tracks from this album kinda have that thing in common where they were birthed from different mindsets and points of focus when it comes to things not going right and why. Life Wont Wait focuses on the fact that life is always moving even when you're not. REALEYES focuses on the moment of realisation that there is something a little more powerful going on within us that the surface would suggest. For us, both of these songs being so rapid and hard hitting was the no brainer that had them become singles. Fast pace, Melodic and to a degree unpredictable! We also kinda wanted to catch people off guard bit with the album because as you know, the sound fluctuates a lot towards the end. We thought we’d leave that as a surprise.”
Do you reckon’ you could sum up the band in three words? Three words to get people to think ‘Fucking hell i gotta listen to that?
“KNOW YOUR ‘SELF’.”
Is there anything else you want people to know about GroundCulture before we go?
“We may not have had the opportunity to get out and tour extensively and see everyone we’d have liked to see during the launch, but it will happen ASAP! We need you guys to push this shit as far as you can for us! If you dig GroundCulture, this is the time we all become part of history together!"
GroundCulture's debut record How Well Do You Know Yourself?
is released May 1st via Hopeless Records.